Identification of a Novel Pathogenic Folliculin Variant in a Chinese Family With Birt-Hogg-Dube Syndrome (Hornstein-Knickenberg Syndrome).
ABSTRACT: Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS), which is also called Hornstein-Knickenberg syndrome (HKS), is a hereditary autosomal dominant disorder caused by germline mutations in the folliculin gene (FLCN, NM_144997). More pulmonary manifestations (pulmonary cysts and recurrent pneumothoraxes) but fewer skin fibrofolliculomas and renal malignancy are found in Asian BHDS patients compared with other BHDS patients. The atypical manifestation can easily lead to a missed or delayed diagnosis. Here, we report a Chinese family with BHDS that presented with primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) and extensive pulmonary cysts in the absence of skin lesions or renal neoplasms. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) was used to sequence the FLCN gene, and Sanger sequencing was carried out on the samples to confirm the presence of these variants. Among the 13 family members, a novel frameshift variant of FLCN (c.912delT/p.E305KfsX18) was identified in seven individuals. This variant has not been reported before. Bioinformatics analysis showed that the novel variant might lead to a premature stop codon after 18 amino acid residues in exon 9, and this may affect the expression level of FLCN. The identification of this novel frameshift variant of FLCN not only further confirms the familial inheritance of BHDS in the proband but also expands the mutational spectrum of the FLCN gene in patients with BHDS.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome (BHDS) characterised by skin fibrofolliculomas, kidney tumour and pulmonary cysts/pneumothorax is caused by folliculin (FLCN) germline mutations. The pathology of both neoplasia and focused tissue loss of BHDS strongly features tissue-specific behaviour of the gene. Isolated cysts/pneumothorax is the most frequent atypical presentation of BHDS and often misdiagnosed as primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP). Deferential diagnosis of BHDS with isolated pulmonary presentation (PSP-BHD) from PSP is essential in lifelong surveillance for developing renal cell carcinoma. METHODS:The expression profiles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in cystic lesions of PSP-BHD and PSP were determined via microarray. The selected upregulated miRNAs were further confirmed in the plasma of an expanded cohort of PSP-BHD patients by reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). Their diagnostic accuracy was evaluated. Moreover, the cellular functions and targeted signalling pathways of FLCN-regulated miRNAs were assessed in various cell lines and in the lesion tissue contexts. RESULTS:Cystic lesions of PSP-BHD and PSP showed different miRNAs profiles with a significant upregulation of miR-424-5p and let-7d-5p in PSP-BHD. The combination of the two effectively predicted BHDS patients. In vitro studies revealed a suppressive effect of FLCN on miR-424-5p and let-7d-5p expressions specifically in lung epithelial cells. The ectopic miRNAs triggered epithelial apoptosis and epithelial transition of mesenchymal cells and suppressed the reparative responses in cells and tissues with FLCN deficiency. CONCLUSION:The upregulation of miR-424-5p and let-7d-5p by FLCN deficiency occurred in epithelial cells and marked the PSP-BHD condition, which contributed to a focused degenerative pathology in the lung of PSP-BHD patients.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS), caused by germline mutations in the folliculin (FLCN) gene, predisposes individuals to develop fibrofolliculomas, pulmonary cysts, spontaneous pneumothoraces, and kidney cancer. The FLCN mutation detection rate by bidirectional DNA sequencing in the National Cancer Institute BHDS cohort was 88%. To determine if germline FLCN intragenic deletions/duplications were responsible for BHDS in families lacking FLCN sequence alterations, 23 individuals from 15 unrelated families with clinically confirmed BHDS but no sequence variations were analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR (RQ-PCR) using primers for all 14 exons. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) assay and array-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) were utilized to confirm and fine map the rearrangements. Long-range PCR followed by DNA sequencing was used to define the breakpoints. We identified six unique intragenic deletions in nine patients from six different BHDS families including four involving exon 1, one that spanned exons 2-5, and one that encompassed exons 7-14 of FLCN. Four of the six deletion breakpoints were mapped, revealing deletions ranging from 5688 to 9189 bp. In addition, one 1341 bp duplication, which included exons 10 and 11, was identified and mapped. This report confirms that large intragenic FLCN deletions can cause BHDS and documents the first large intragenic FLCN duplication in a BHDS patient. Additionally, we identified a deletion "hot spot" in the 5'-noncoding-exon 1 region that contains the putative FLCN promoter based on a luciferase reporter assay. RQ-PCR, MLPA and aCGH may be used for clinical molecular diagnosis of BHDS in patients who are FLCN mutation-negative by DNA sequencing.
Project description:The Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome is a very rare autosomal dominant form of genodermatosis caused by germline mutations in the folliculin (FLCN) gene, which is mapped to the p11.2 region in chromosome 17. BHD commonly presents cutaneous fibrofolliculomas, pulmonary cysts, renal cell carcinoma, and recurrent pneumothoraxes. The disease is easily ignored or misdiagnosed as pneumothorax, pulmonary lymphangiomyomatosis (LAM), or emphysema. Follow-up and guidelines for managing recurrent pneumothoraxes in these patients are lacking.We reported the case of a 56-year-old Chinese woman who presented skin lesions, multiple lung bubblae, recurrent pneumothoraxes, thyroid nodules, and pulmonary inflammatory pseudotumors (PITs). The patient had a family history of pneumothoraxes and renal tumor. The BHD diagnosis was confirmed by genetic testing, which revealed a novel FLCN mutation in exon 14. Furthermore, the patient underwent a bullectomy because of recurrent pneumothorax 6 years ago.To our knowledge, the novel mutation in exon 14 and the manifestation of PIT in the present case have never been reported for BHD. The patient underwent a bullectomy previously with no relapse at the last follow-up before the preparation of this report, thereby suggesting that thoracotomy with bullectomy may be a possible therapeutic approach for some BHD patients with recurrent pneumothorax.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome (BHD, OMIM#135150) is a rare disease in clinic; it is characterized by skin fibrofolliculomas, pulmonary cysts with an increased risk of recurrent pneumothorax, renal cysts, and renal neoplasms. Previous studies have demonstrated that variants in folliculin (FLCN, NM_144997) are mainly responsible for this disease. In this research, we enrolled two BHD families and applied direct sequencing of FLCN to explore the genetic lesions in them. Two FLCN mutations were identified: one is a novel deletion variant (c.668delA/p.N223TfsX19), while the other is a previously reported insertion mutation (c.1579_1580insA/p.R527QfsX75). And the pathogenicity of both variants was confirmed by cosegregation assay. Bioinformatics analysis showed that c.668delA may lead to functional haploinsufficiency of FLCN because mRNA carrying this mutation exhibits a faster degradation rate comparing to the wild type. Real-time qPCR also confirmed that the mRNA level of FLCN expression in the proband was decreased significantly compared with the controls, which may disrupt the mTOR pathway and lead to BHD. The insertion mutation (c.1579_1580insA) was predicted to cause a prolonged amino acid sequence of FLCN. The present identification of two mutations not only further supports the important role of tumor suppressor FLCN in BHD and primary spontaneous pneumothorax, but also expands the spectrum of FLCN mutations and will provide insight into genetic diagnosis and counseling of families with BHD.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS) is a rare disease with autosomal dominant inheritance that manifests through skin tumors, pulmonary cystic lesions, and renal tumors. A mutation of FLCN located on chromosome 17p11.2, which encodes a tumor-suppressor protein (folliculin), is responsible for the development of BHDS. We report the case of a patient presenting with spontaneous pneumothorax, in whom a familial genetic study revealed a novel nonsense mutation: p.(Arg379*) in FLCN.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome, a hereditary renal cancer syndrome caused by mutations in the folliculin (FLCN) gene, is characterized by the presence of fibrofolliculomas, pulmonary cysts, spontaneous pneumothorax, and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Few BHD syndrome cases have been reported in Asian countries, and cutaneous presentations are relatively rare in Asian patients. Asian BHD patients may be misdiagnosed due to their atypical manifestations. Here, we report two Chinese BHD patients with novel FLCN mutations (c.946-947delAG in exon 9 and c.770-772delCCT in exon 7). Both of them had RCC and spontaneous pneumothorax without fibrofolliculomas. In patients with RCC and pulmonary cysts but without cutaneous lesions, screening for mutations in the FLCN gene should be performed, especially for those with a family history of RCC or pulmonary cysts (pneumothorax).
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder characterised by fibrofolliculomas, renal tumours, pulmonary cysts and pneumothorax. The pulmonary cysts and repeated episodes of pneumothorax are the clinical hallmarks for discovering families affected by the syndrome. This disorder is caused by mutations in the gene coding for folliculin (FLCN). FLCN forms a complex with FLCN-interacting protein 1 (FNIP1) and FNIP2 (also known as FNIPL), and the complex cross-talks with signalling molecules such as 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Heterozygous Flcn knockout mice and rats with Flcn gene mutations develop renal cysts, adenomas and/or carcinomas. These findings suggest that FLCN functions as a tumour suppressor that inhibits renal carcinogenesis. However, the mechanisms of the formation of pulmonary cysts and pneumothorax associated with heterozygous mutations in FLCN are poorly understood. Resected lung specimens from patients with BHD are often misdiagnosed by pathologists as non-specific blebs or bullae or emphysema, and patients with BHD who have pulmonary cysts and repeated pneumothorax frequently do not receive appropriate medical investigations. This review discusses the clinical and pathological features of lungs of patients with BHD, focusing on the diagnostic pathology and possible mechanisms of cyst formation.
Project description:Germline mutations in the folliculin (FLCN) tumor suppressor gene are linked to Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome, a dominantly inherited genetic disease characterized by predisposition to fibrofolliculomas, lung cysts, and renal cancer. Most BHD-linked FLCN variants include large deletions and splice site aberrations predicted to cause loss of function. The mechanisms by which missense variants and short in-frame deletions in FLCN trigger disease are unknown. Here, we present an integrated computational and experimental study that reveals that the majority of such disease-causing FLCN variants cause loss of function due to proteasomal degradation of the encoded FLCN protein, rather than directly ablating FLCN function. Accordingly, several different single-site FLCN variants are present at strongly reduced levels in cells. In line with our finding that FLCN variants are protein quality control targets, several are also highly insoluble and fail to associate with the FLCN-binding partners FNIP1 and FNIP2. The lack of FLCN binding leads to rapid proteasomal degradation of FNIP1 and FNIP2. Half of the tested FLCN variants are mislocalized in cells, and one variant (?E510) forms perinuclear protein aggregates. A yeast-based stability screen revealed that the deubiquitylating enzyme Ubp15/USP7 and molecular chaperones regulate the turnover of the FLCN variants. Lowering the temperature led to a stabilization of two FLCN missense proteins, and for one (R362C), function was re-established at low temperature. In conclusion, we propose that most BHD-linked FLCN missense variants and small in-frame deletions operate by causing misfolding and degradation of the FLCN protein, and that stabilization and resulting restoration of function may hold therapeutic potential of certain disease-linked variants. Our computational saturation scan encompassing both missense variants and single site deletions in FLCN may allow classification of rare FLCN variants of uncertain clinical significance.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by cutaneous fibrofolliculomas, pulmonary cysts, and kidney malignancies. Affected individuals carry germ line mutations in folliculin (FLCN), a tumor suppressor gene that becomes biallelically inactivated in kidney tumors by second-hit mutations. Similar to other factors implicated in kidney cancer, FLCN has been shown to modulate activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). However, its precise in vivo function is largely unknown because germ line deletion of Flcn results in early embryonic lethality in animal models. Here, we describe mice deficient in the newly characterized folliculin-interacting protein 1 (Fnip1). In contrast to Flcn, Fnip1(-/-) mice develop normally, are not susceptible to kidney neoplasia, but display a striking pro-B cell block that is entirely independent of mTOR activity. We show that this developmental arrest results from rapid caspase-induced pre-B cell death, and that a Bcl2 transgene reconstitutes mature B-cell populations, respectively. We also demonstrate that conditional deletion of Flcn recapitulates the pro-B cell arrest of Fnip1(-/-) mice. Our studies thus demonstrate that the FLCN-FNIP complex deregulated in BHD syndrome is absolutely required for B-cell differentiation, and that it functions through both mTOR-dependent and independent pathways.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS) is an autosomal, dominantly inherited genodermatosis that predisposes to fibrofolliculomas, kidney neoplasms, lung cysts, and spontaneous pneumothorax.We evaluated 198 patients from 89 families with BHDS to characterize the risk factors for pneumothorax and genotype-pulmonary associations.Helical computed tomography scans of the chest were used to screen for pulmonary abnormalities. BHD mutation data were used for genotype-pulmonary associations. We examined the relationship of pneumothorax with categorical parameters (sex, smoking history, and lung cysts) and continuous parameters (number of cysts, lung cyst volume, and largest cyst diameter and volume). Logistic regression analyses were used to identify the risk factors associated with pneumothorax.Twenty-four percent (48/198) of patients with BHDS had a history of pneumothorax. The presence of lung cysts was significantly associated with pneumothorax (p = 0.006). Total lung cyst volume, largest cyst diameter and volume, and every parameter related to the number of lung cysts were significantly associated (p < 0.0001) with pneumothorax. A logistic regression analysis showed that only the total number of cysts in the right parenchymal lower lobe and the total number of cysts located on the pleural surface in the right middle lobe were needed to classify a patient as to whether or not he or she was likely to have a pneumothorax. Exon location of the BHD mutation was associated with the numbers of cysts (p = 0.0002).This study indicates that patients with BHDS have a significant association between lung cysts and spontaneous pneumothorax.